Nutanix accuses VMware of bullying

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Nutanix accuses VMware of bullying

CEO blog paints VMware as arrogant imperialist, but if that's so why are sales going up?

Nutanix’s CEO Dheeraj Pandey has published a blog post in which he labels VMware a “bully” and compares it to a colonial power unjustly taxing citizens.

The roots of the Pandey’s argument lie in the 2015 launch of “Acropolis”, Nutanix’s hypervisor. Nutanix has since re-named the tool AHV, priced it aggressively and loudly proclaimed that VMware’s pricing and product bundling constitute a “V-Tax” on users.

Nutanix has ramped up that rhetoric of late, but Pandey’s now taken it to another level in a post titled “Stop being a bully, VMware!”

The post considers the sweep of history. “As I write this blog on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I am reminded of respect, fairness, and dignity, and how an absence of fundamental human values engenders movements,” Pandey opens, before adding “ Many independence movements have been borne out of unfair taxation”, mentioning the US war of independence and Indian opposition to British rule.

“When empires begin to bully their subjects, they lose the silent consent of the masses. Once the consent is withdrawn, it’s the beginning of their end,” Pandey says.

He then cites correspondence allegedly written by VMware COO Sanjay Poonen that asks an un-named VMware and Dell partner to remove its name from a Nutanix AHV marketing campaign, on grounds that it’s not reasonable to both partner with VMware and participate in a campaign that criticizes VMware.

Nutanix offers only a screen shot of the correspondence – there’s no way to tell if it really came from Poonen’s pen.

Blog posts like this are, of course, a marketing exercise. But this one denies reality in some ways.

For openers, Nutanix’s own Q1 2019 earnings announcement from November 2018 revealed that only 38 percent of its own customers ran AHV at that time. While the company can point to strong growth in AHV use, it’s cagey when asked whether it’s users’ primary hypervisor or runs alongside VMware products so it is hard to understand whether AHV really is making inroads.

Consider, also, the implication that VMware lacks “respect, fairness, and dignity” when it is Nutanix that has leaked correspondence supposedly between Poonen and a partner.

VMware, meanwhile, can point to the scoreboard to show that buyers like its approach: sales of its hyperconverged wares have soared in recent years, while even its foundational hypervisor-based products continue to grow even though the company once issued guidance that they should be considered to be in long-term decline.

Pandey nonetheless urged VMware to “honestly embrace a ‘building things that people like’ philosophy.

But VMware’s results suggest it is already doing that and, far from being an unjust colonialist, buyers like what it is selling.

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